When I had pamonha for the first time I was blown away!!!! We had just flown fro Rio de Janeiro to Vitória where Ludmilla’s grandparents were picking us up. On the drive to their house they stopped at a roadside store and we had lunch. This is when Ludmilla put one down in front of me, I said, “this is like a tamale right?” She said, “No, no, no, no!! Don’t call it a tamale! It’s nothing like a tamale! It’s waaaayyy better!!” She was right!!! No offense to those who like tamales, but my friends….this is an eating experience like no other!!!! It’s delicate, moist and the flavor of the fresh corn is amazing!!!
When we were in Brazil Ludmilla asked if I wanted to go see where her family makes their pamonha which they sell throughout the nearby towns. They make all flavors, savory and sweet…all equally delicious!! I of course said YES!! So we took off for the kitchen where they make it. I was amazed. It was a commercial kitchen made behind the back of Lu’s aunt’s house and it was amazing.
So I got busy learning how to make pamonha!
First, you need LOTS of fresh corn to make these beauties. We got busy shucking the corn, saving the husks and then “juicing” the corn from the cob.
Now I was my turn to use the machine that Ludmilla’s grandpa created to help to clean the corn. Before they used to clean it with their hands.
Look at the Brazilian family watching me in the back!! Nobody was believing I could make pamonha.
Then we poured all of the fresh juice into huge vats where it is cooked down with oil and flavorings.
It is then decided whether it will be “sweet” or “savory”, depending upon what’s added..sugar, salt or a combination. Later, as we filled the husks with the corn is when the different fillings are added…meat, chicken, coconut, banana….the possibilities are endless!! This factory is Ludmilla’s aunt’s and she sells over 14 different flavors. I fell in love with pamonha!!!!
I’ve been cooking different cuisines in different restaurants for almost 20 years. I thought this would be easy!! Well, it was much harder than I thought…and it takes a lot of work to make it.
The girls that work there was so nice and patient to teach me!! Thanks girls!!
The difference between a tamale and pamonha is huge. The Brazilians use fresh corn and fresh husks to make this “dumpling”, and they cook it in boiling water. The tamale is made using dried corn flour, dried husks and then steam theirs. Because of this difference, when making pamonha you are dealing with a liquid (juiced corn) which you then pour into the fresh husks with fillings put in the middle. The hardest part for me was exactly that! Trying to fill the soft husks with the liquid..my friends!!!
And MY FIRST PAMONHA!
It took me an hour to get one, sort of ok looking, and even then it wasn’t the right size, shape…oh boy!! All of the employees were cracking up!! Theirs were so perfect and they did it so effortlessly!! I have so much respect for those who can make this look so easy!!! Thank you Fabiana again for letting us in your factory!
Now it’s time to try the first pamonha I ever made!
This summer we are going to make it at our house and I will tell you how it turned out!!
Beijos e Tchau!